Recent kwiples

Thursday 6th of October 2022 Available without prescription™ © 2015
Aging Arresting data point: in Japan, adult diapers now outsell baby diapers. Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books, October 6, 2022 © 2022
Dead-in-the-heads say Different people say different things but as I understand it, if you're the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying  it's declassified, even by thinking about it. Because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you’re sending it. There doesn't have to be a process. There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be. You're the president — you make that decision. Donald Trump, when asked by Sean Hannity about his process for declassifying the documents he took to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House © 2022
Democracy A 2017 international study by the Pew Research Center on people’s commitment to democracy revealed troubling news. Fifty-one percent of U.S. respondents described themselves as “dissatisfied” with how American democracy is working, and 46 percent said they were open to forms of government other than representative democracy, including rule by a strong leader or by groups of experts. This tendency was more pronounced among people aged eighteen to twenty-nine than among those over age fifty. “Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century,” Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship © 2022
Fascism The prominent fascist leaders of the twentieth century — from Mussolini to Hitler — regarded lies as the truth incarnate in themselves. This stood at the center of their notions of power, popular sovereignty, and history. An alternate universe where truth and falsehood cannot be distinguished rests on the logic of myth. In Fascism, mythical truth replaced factual truth. Federico Finchelstein, A Brief History of Fascist Lies  © 2022
Global warming  Less than one percent of the planet's surface has an average temperature higher than twenty-nine degrees Celsius, or eight-four degrees Fahrenheit; at the moment, that's mostly in the Sahara region. But computer modeling shows that within fifty years those kinds of temperatures could be common in most of the tropics, an area projected to be home to 3.5 billion people. Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books, October 6, 2022 © 2022
Global warming The U.S., with 4 percent of the world population today, has produced a quarter of all the greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere; the carbon we poured into the air during our industrialization and (especially) our suburbanization will linger there for a century or more. No country, not even far more populous ones like China, will come close to catching us. Somalian famine, Honduran hurricanes, Vietnamese indundation — these are crises caused by us, and given that many in industry and government have known the  consequences of burning fossil fuels for decades, you could fairly say the climate crisis is a kind of crime Americans have been committing. Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books, October 6, 2022 © 2022
Gun violence A 2003 study looked at levels of gun ownerhip among murder and suicide victims. Among gun owners, the odds of becoming a murder victim were 41 percent higher when compared with people who did not keep guns in the house. The odds of dying by suicide were 244 percent higher. That last tragic number is important: of  those 45,000 annual firearm-related deaths, nearly 25,000 are suicides. Scientific American, October 2022 © 2022
Higher education At 19 of the top 20 American universities, tuition exceeds $55,000 a year. Bloomberg Businessweek, September 19, 2022 © 2022
Income inequalty From 1993 to 2017, the average real family incomes of the bottom 99 percent of the U.S. population grew by only 15.5 percent, while the incomes of the top 1 percent of American families grew by 95.5 percent. “Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century,” Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship © 2022
Kwiplers say Count votes in Congress by: 1. Calculating a Member's Proportional Vote (MPV) for each member, as follows: MPV = SPNP / NLRS where: SPNP = State's Percentage of the National Population NLRS = Number of Legislators Representing the State (in that legislature) 2. Totaling “yes” MPVs and “no” MPVs 3. Passing if total MPV is more than 50 OTHERWISE Abolish the Senate © 2019
Local news Six percent of all U.S. counties have no paper; 46 percent have only one paper, usually a weekly, and 64 percent have no daily paper. “Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century,” Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship © 2022
Murder … calculations made in 2004 put the cost of a single murder to society at $9.7m. That is equivalent to $15.7m today, and it would put the total cost of homicide in America at nearly $400bn a year, or just under 2% of GDP, most of it concentrated in the poorest parts of the country. The Economist, September 17, 2022 © 2022
Police  Though it spends vastly more on prisons, America devotes roughy 20% less as a share of its GDP on policing than the European Union average. The Economist, September 17, 2022 © 2022
Political inequality In 2020, the twenty-six states with the smallest populations control the majority of votes in the Senate while representing only 18 percent of the U.S. population. “Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century,” Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship © 2022
Post-2020 Senate shituation 15 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming) 2020 population: 40,085,414 Senators: 30 Republicans 1 Senator per 1,336,180 people 1 state (California) 2020 population: 39,368,075 Senators: 2 Democrats 1 Senator per 19,684,037 people 19,684,037 / 1,336,180 = 14.7, therefore: average 15er's vote is worth nearly 15 times a Californian's, a Californian's vote is worth less than 7% of an average 15er's 1 state (Wyoming) 2020 population = 582,328, therefore: 1 Senator per 291,164 Wyomians, a Wyomian's vote is worth 68 times a Californian's, a Californian's vote is worth 1.5% of a Wyomian's  © 2021
Revolution The revoltionary prophets of the nineteenth century, like Karl Marx, believed that the oppressed would rise up against their oppressors. In the twenty-first century, the oppressors revolt. By no means is this violent reaction against lost privilege unique to white Americans. Stephen Marche, The Next Civil War  © 2021
Selfie I must be seen to be believed. Queen Elizabeth II, explaining that she wore colorful clothes so television cameras could easily pick her out in a crowd  © 2022
Selfie You told me I gotta prepare, so I'm preparing. I'm this country boy, you know, I'm not that smart. And [Warnock’s] that preacher. He's a smart man, wears these nice suits. So he's going to show up there, embarrass me at the debate, October the 14th. Herschel Walker, September 19, 2022, Republican candidate for Georgia senator, on an upcoming debate with Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent © 2022
Snapshot The royal role involves being constantly in the public eye while keeping personal views entirely private. Any sign of partiality would have undermined her ability to represent all her compatriots; instead she appeared always to be interested, without ever saying anything of interest. That unwavering professionalism helped  ensure the survival of the British monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II portrayed by the Economist, Sep. 8, 2022 © 2022
Snapshot She can walk as fast as I can. 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II portrayed by 72-year-old Donald Trump © 2019
Teachers $59k Average amount owed by teachers with outstanding student loan debts $100k Minimum amount owed by one in five Black teachers The Nation, September 19/26, 2022 © 2022
Trumpists say If you see someone with a beard and chest hair and a voice like Barry White, that's a dude. But we know that. Lia Thomas— I am sorry, Lia Thomas [the trans swimmer] looks like Michael Phelps. And people across the country, across the world, are, like, that don't make any sense. Ted Cruz, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas in August, 2022 © 2022
Trumpists say Our top generals have turned into woke corporate bozos, and our troops deserve better. Our military leadership  is totally incompetent. No active duty American general has ever won a war. Think about how crazy that is. These people get promoted by giving politcally correct powerpont presentations. Blake Masters, 12:00 PM – Nov 16, 2021 © 2022
Violence By rich-world standards, America is a staggeringly violent country. The murder rate is six times higher than it is in Britain, France or Germany and 20 times higher than in Japan. In 2020, one in 700 black men aged 18 to 24 was murdered. Violence is now not only cutting short the lives of over 24,000 people per year. It is also devastating entire communities, as businesses and middle-class people leave crime-ridden neighborhoods. Plausible estimates put the social cost of murder at over $400bn per year, around 2% of America's GDP. The Economist, September 17, 2022 © 2022
Wealth inequality All wealth is collective by nature in the sense that it relies on the work of hundreds, thousands, millions of engineers, technicians, the accumulation of knowledge.  Then, private property is a social construction that we invent in order to organize economic and social relations. It’s a very useful social invention as long as you keep under control how much you can accumlate, how much power you can concentrate, etc. But none of these assets are their  assets. They are a product of a collective process. No one invented anything by himself or herself. Thomas Piketty, New York Times, April 1, 2022 © 2022
Wealth inequality If we now examine the development of the distribution [of property since the end of the eighteenth century] as a whole, we see that the reduction in inequalities took place mainly to the benefit of what  may be called the patrimonial middle class, that is, the 40 percent between the poorest 50 percent and the richest 10 percent. Thomas Piketty, A Brief History of Equality © 2022
Wealth inequality We have an institutional setup where you accumulate wealth by using public infrastructure, public education, the health system, and then once you have  accumulated the wealth, you push a button and you transfer it somewhere else. Remember the ProPublica study before the summer of 2021 where they looked at billionaires in the U.S.? They pay almost zero federal income tax, as compared with their wealth.  If you pay no tax, it's easier to accumulate more wealth, and that's what continues. Thomas Piketty, New York Times, April 1, 2022 © 2022